Archive for the ‘Handling Difficult People’ category

The 15 Proven ‘S’ Ways Of Managing And Improving Your Work Relationships

August 31, 2008

So long as you work, you will forge relationships. And relationships have to be there or nothing gets done. Yet work relationships must be tactfully handled or it may run out of control. Negative relationships tend to escalate much faster than whatever is positive.

A significant amount of my training, coaching and counseling involve helping the business owners, executives and the individuals to better their relationships at their workplace. The quality of such relationships is an outstanding factor in determining one’s happiness at work. Hence, meticulous attention ought to be paid and ongoing efforts must be made in order to seek enhancement.

Here, in no particular order of importance, are 15 of the proven ways to manage and improve your relationships at work. (Incidentally, all of them begin with a ‘S’ so they are called the ‘S’ ways):

1. Seek clarification on duties and tasks.

2. Stop playing the blame game.

3. Share the responsibilities reasonably.

4. Strengthen your emotions.

5. Socialize productively with colleagues.

6. Smile often to others.

7. Start your day positively and motivated.

8. Simplify the complicated process.

9. Sort out issues, conflicts and differences as soon as you can.

10. Speak clearly and diplomatically to be understood.

11. Shut up and listen when necessary.

12. Self-evaluate your behavior through personal reflection times.

13. Sense the mood of others and the atmosphere to act sensitively.

14. Show appreciation to your bosses, colleagues and customers.

15. Strive for overall improvement always.

Whenever you implement any or more of these ‘S’ ways artfully, you are providing an opportunity for advancement of your work relationships. This will surely take you further, towards Excelling Beyond Excellence!

5 Key Principles Of Reframing Problems

August 18, 2008

It was amazing today with whatever we’ve shared. I conducted 2 runs of trainings back-to-back within one day, all with full number of participants. It was most enriching and the pace was exhilarating.

I’ve designed this training, Reframing Problems into Opportunities, specifically as a means to assist people to see their world or ‘problems’ differently, gaining new insights and opportunities in the process. The process is purposefully created to empower the individuals to perceive things in a more productive and purposeful manner as well as improve their skills to better guide others in their lives.

Here are some of the key principles that affect how we can reframe problems:

Principle of Subjective Reality: We don’t know reality. We only perceive our own subjective versions in our mind.

Principle of Self Empowerment: You must be able to see beyond first before you can help others to see further.

Principle of Rapport: You must gain and maintain rapport, trust and credibility in order to reframe the problem in others.

Principle of Limited Perception: This limitation causes mere situations to be viewed as problems because people are unable to perceive beyond.

Principle of Inherent Assumption: The assumptions within us create plenty of misunderstandings and relationship issues, leading to an escalation of problems. A vicious cycle of problem is hence formed.

The 5 Essential Abilities You Must Have To Manage Negativity In Your Interactions and Relationships

July 27, 2008

Today was the first day of the Befrienders’ Course. We’ve covered the key essentials and the know-how of being a Befriender. On the next Sunday, I will be conducting the second day of this training where I will show them how to interact well with their clients, creating positive outcomes for themselves and others.

The overall purpose of this course is to equip these Befrienders with the essential skills to better relate with their assigned families. These families have multiple issues and are in lesser privileged situations. It’s becomes imperative that the Befrienders are oriented to cater to the differing demands of these families.

Hence here are the abilities you must have to better manage the negative situations.

1. Have powerful mental states to remain assertive and influential

2. Use optimism to handle pessimism artfully.

3. Create humor to connect and draw people closer.

4. Display appreciation and acknowledgement of who they are.

5. Be resourceful to provide aid when needed.

Watch Out For The Weakest Link (And The 5 Forms They Exist In Your Team)

July 18, 2008

Whenever you run a team as its Leader, watch out for the weakest link. This link does not just refer to the bond, but it also refers to a certain person or a group of people. When left unnoticed, it will destroy the harmony and synergy of your team. And over time, your team will work harder than ever, yet not deriving the results or achieving the goals you intend.

A team must hence function in tune with each other, irregardless of each individual’s talents. The lone ranger cannot eradicate crime and injustice in the whole county.

Conflicts could be part of the trait in your team, but it need not be negative. It’s when those conflicts escalate into something unhealthy for the team that it becomes the weakest link. A festering link means that you must administer the antidote or face the spread of unhappiness with your team. Should you not pay attention and wait till it’s too late, well… it’s too late then.

Never assume that it will blow over or it’s no big deal. Human beings don’t merely forget. Some remember, some remember with a vengeance.

You’ll see them in these forms:

1. Some will be so negative that nothing gets done. — The Naysayers.

2. Some will sap the energy out of the rest of the team, leaving them worned out, tired and listless. — The Energy Sappers.

3. While some will hold your team’s progress back so much that it actually retards. — The Retarders. (not retard!)

4. Some infuse complains into other members with no providence of sensible solutions. — The Constant Complainers.

5. And then, there are those that simply talk with no action. — The Mere Talkers.

Your team is only as strong as the weakest link.

You either work it or weed it out. Work with your team, build the cohesiveness together or you’ll have to remove that person. You make the call.

Watch out for the weakest link

How To Overcome Your Participants’ Learning Resistance In Your Training?

July 3, 2008

Over these few days I’ve been traveling to and fro a major government institution. This is because I have been conducting a 5 day “Train-the-Trainer” course for the organization’s people. The training is specifically designed to help the current trainers of the organizations to acquire even more advanced training skills and competency in capability transference. Today was training Day 4 out of the 5 days.

While we have discussed and worked on many different aspects of trainings, one major topic today stood out: Learning Resistance.

If you have been conducting training, you will realize that from time to time there will be some participants who display resistance to learning. They tend to cast doubts on your sharing, suggestions and strategies. They question your methodologies and disbelief your ways of application. And you just get the feeling that they are “not getting it”

Hence, here are some steps you can overcome the learning resistance in your participants:

1. Have awareness of the learning resistance in the different topics you teach.

2. Be sensitive in your mannerism of speech and delivery to such resistance.

3. Acknowledge to the particular person that his resistance and doubts are valid.

4. Make the resistance appear normal to have rather than a sore thumb. “Normalize” it.

5. Give the solution and answer the issue directly. Address that resistance and suggest how to reduce or eliminate it.

6. Provide the assurance that you, as his trainer, will be there to support him and answer his doubt in the course of his application of your solution.

7. Get an open commitment. Ensure that his mind is somewhat open enough to give it a go and is committed to make it work overall.

When you artfully apply these suggested steps, you will be more equipped to handle and overcome the resistance that appears in your lessons.

Practice until they become a natural flow and an instinctive reaction to your participants. Your training will thus be even more poised to Excel Beyond Excellence!

3 Useful Ways To Handle Your Verbal Critics

July 1, 2008

Tonight at my Club meeting, I was evaluating the Advanced project on “Diffusing Verbal Criticism” from the Interpersonal Communication manual. At The NUS Toastmasters Club, we always strive to make the project a meaning learning experience for the speakers. I’ve also throughout enjoyed such a project because it is a reflection of the daily relationships between people. Criticisms can be widespread and when left unchecked, becomes a part of a damaging culture.

This project also brings to mind my trainings on human relationships, interactions and behaviors. Whenever people come together and mingle, there is always potential for outspoken criticisms to occur. It’s sometimes unavoidable but definitely manageable.

Hence some of the useful ways I’ve recommended for both the speech project and our daily interactions are as follows:

1. Listen while observing. Know when the right time to interject your opinions is. When you attempt to cut a person off too soon, that critic will not be ready to take it lying down while you defend yourself.

2. Acknowledge the emotions displayed instead of claiming to merely ‘understand’. People often seek validation that the common ‘lip service’ or respond.

3. Minimize unproductive phrases such as I don’t know or I’ll try. These phrases might sometimes add fuel to the fire. Work on solution phrases such as ‘This is what I can do’, or ‘let’s discuss the issues openly’.

Bring Out The GEMS In Your Service: What Does It Truly Means To Provide Service Beyond Excellence

June 8, 2008

For the past two days, I was visiting Republic Polytechnic during their GEMS Bond Camp. I was invited as the guest speaker as well as attended the closing ceremony. I must that the participants of the GEMS Bond camp put in their best in their performance. (GEMS stands for Go-the Extra-Mile for Service. A government initiative to get the industries to be more service orientated and conscious as well as getting the customers to be more service responsive.)

The various industry partners and I watched their skit, dance and songs. While these were entertaining and fun, there were all focused on bringing out the single message: the call to provide better service. The energy and efforts by these young participants were awe inspiring. I enjoyed their performance and was impressed by their commitment towards service quality.

Whenever I run service workshops and consultant, many people asked me regarding how could they provide good service? Therefore, during my segment, I decided to share with them the essences of GEMS and what is the real meaning of providing quality service, the service that goes beyond excellence.

I shared with them the components of what quality service means so that they can bring out the GEMS in their service:

Give your hearts out: You must understand that a lot of the service you provide must come from the heart. If it’s not truly and sincerely the desire to service, then anything you do is merely for the sake of doing. And customers can feel the difference. Therefore, be sincere and passionate in what you do.

Exceed Expectations: When we talk about quality service, we are comparing this to minimal service or standard service. People walk in with a certain expectations. If you serve them exceeding well in a positive way, they will hence be pleasantly pleased and surprised, leaving a better impression.

Manage Emotions: People are beings with emotions, feelings, opinions, thoughts and responses. When you can handle and manage the emotions of your customers, it means you can influence them towards making how they feel better. If they’re feeling bad, you can make them feel good. And if they feel good already, you can make them feel even more elated. Remember, the notion of ‘quality’ lies in the emotions of your customers.

Sensitive to Needs: Of course, no service can be considered complete and be of quality if they do not meet up to the needs of the customers. Hence, you must be sensitive enough to first, sense the need, then detect the changing needs. Imagine how pleasant it will be if the waiter offers you the tea spoon even before you raise your hands to get his attention. The key is: every customer has needs. Whoever meets it the best, wins.

These are the components of GEMS that you can apply everyday as you serve your customers. Practice these practical points often and you’ll soon find your service Excelling Beyond Excellence!

What You Need In Order To Negotiate The Impossible

June 5, 2008

There comes a time where every negotiator may have to face his own Goliath. That’s like a near impossible negotiation situation or a gigantic counterpart who appears unconvinced. It happens. It just happens.

However, just because it seems unlikely that a deal will occur wouldn’t imply you need to give up. You can always seek to change the way you do things. Because in negotiations, so many elements come into play and so much dynamics occur within. You just have to change.

For the past 3 days, my participants and I have been working and discussing on really tough negotiation situations. In this particularly intensive training, “Effective Negotiation Skills”, the duration has been expanded into 3 full days instead of the usual 2 days. I led these leader-participants to work on the dynamics and intricacies of negotiations and deals making. The intend was to allow the participants to discover the fine art of negotiation within and be empowered to enter into negotiations with various parties. Their generous sharing and participations made the session all the more meaningful and fun.

And from these trainings and real-life encounters, here are the key things you will need when you want to negotiate the impossible and with the impossible:

1. Guts and courage. You just got to have them.

2. Awareness of the dynamics of the negotiation, the situation, the background and the other parties. Your awarenss will require you to further analyzie in your mind how things will proceed from there.

3. Rationality. Keep your mind clear no matter how pressurizing it is or how demanding the other party is.

4. The ability to associate, disassociate and re-associate. This has very much to do with gaining superb advantage over the other party. You get to connect with emotion, yet keep your thoughts stable.

5. Quick wit. This is extremely vital for comebacks in negotiation. It’s a requirement for top-notch negotiating. What do you do when sacarsm and insults are hurled at you? How do you react when sensitive issues are brought up? And can you make a life changing decision when demanded? You will face all these with less than 10 seconds to reply.

6. Sharp tongue. Not only must your wit be quick, so must your tongue. Being sharp in replying takes the key advantages away from the other party and into your mouth, err.. your hands. Learn to speak well.

7. Accurate reading skills. You must read the changes and the non-changes well. Things become very dynamic once you meet up with each other. The party who can read better and respond accordingly has the huge upper hand.

8. Challenge the paradigm. Everyone comes into negotiation and deals making with their own paradigm and perspectives of how things should be. You’ve got to be able to challenge these inner opinions and further convince them why these paradigms should allow room for accommodation. The question is… dare you challenge?

9. Coolness. Now I don’t mean be cold. Coolness and coldness are different. Coolness tends to attract people to you while coldness repels. Unless it’s a reversal strategy, let the other party know that you can handle them, no matter what. Be cool.

10. Sincerity. Behind the coolness, lies the irony. You have to be emotional enough to let them feel your sincerity; and that you truly want to establish a win-win relationship with them… for the long term. Let them know it. And let them feel it.

Negotiating the impossible is no mean feat. It’s hardly a walk in the park. It sets the standard and requires the best out of you. Face it and work on it. That’s how you Excel Beyond Excellence!

7 Essential Pointers For Improving Your Relationships With Difficult People

May 11, 2008

So long as there are people in our lives, we can never run away from interacting with them. Yet the irony remains, the more you interact with them, the more likely disagreements may occur. That’s a bit pessimistic you say. Yup, indeed. That’s for people who tend to insist on their own points of views.

However, being more proactive and forward looking, I’m of the opinion that it’s not just interaction, it’s THE WAY you interact.

Hence the quality of your interaction determines the quality of your relationship.

And here’s some of the quick pointers that will help you enhance the relationship with the difficult people:

1. Be willing to explore each other’s perspectives. Step into their shoes, better still, see if you can fill them.

2. Address the issue at hand, instead of the person.

3. Understand word choice matters so be tactful with words. The use of inappropriate words can trigger another bout of arguments.

4. Give each other chill out time to think through. But avoid delaying too long till it becomes so awkward to bring it up again.

5. Be willing to admit you’re wrong, if you are truly wrong.

6. Maintain mutual respect as human beings.

7. Provide constructive feedback pertaining to what needs to improve.

Practice applying all these points into relating with others. You’ll find over time that your relationships can also Excel Beyond Excellence!

Top 10 Reasons Why Your Negotiations Become Deadlocked

May 10, 2008

It was an intensive and enriching session yesterday as I rounded up the training. “Effective Negotiation Skills” has always been one of the most popular courses I conduct and the past 2 days were no exception.

I liked how the participants shared their thoughts and appreciate their opinions. Such interactions always made the training purposeful. Well done to everybody and keep up the wonderful work!

From what we covered in training on defusing deadlocking situations during negotiations, I am also sharing with you the key reasons behind the deadlocking of negotiations. (Note: this is as opposed to purposely having a deadlock as part of your strategy or plan.)

And the top 10 reasons are:

1. A clash of values

2. Poor communication skills

3. The lack of trust and integrity

4. Unable to empathize and relate with each other

5. Refusal to endorse the virtues of compromise or give-and-take

6. Believe only in win-lose results as the outcome of negotiations

7. People are out to reap the other party apart

8. Far too many complex issues to be sorted out

9. Not knowing the next step of the plan

10. Close mindedness

It is with these reasons in mind that we can attempt to work on defusing these situations when we negotiate. After all, negotiations are meant to help you get what you want so that you can Excel Beyond Excellence!